Of all the struggles linked to providing care for a loved one with dementia, the Alzheimer’s Association indicates that the most prevalent challenge is with personal hygiene, for several different reasons:
- Diminished sense of vision and smell
- Comfort found in familiarity (for example, wanting to wear the exact same clothes over and over again)
- The difficulties of bathing, compounded by cognitive impairment and confusion
- Fear of falling, the sounds and feelings associated with the water, and more
Cajoling, quarrelling, and reasoning are not usually effective tactics with those impacted by Alzheimer’s or another type of dementia. Instead, try these creative personal hygiene tips in the event a senior loved one balks at maintaining cleanliness:
- Organize the bathroom in advance so that the room will be comfortable and you will not have to juggle gathering supplies along with assisting the senior. Heat up the room with a space heater, and put soap, shampoo, towels, washcloth, etc. within easy reach, as well as eliminate any throw rugs or other tripping dangers.
- A shower chair and hand-held sprayer often make a far more calming bathing experience for anyone with dementia. Face the chair away from the faucet, and use towels to cover up parts of the body before and after they are washed to help keep the senior warm and to prevent feelings of exposure.
- Have the senior help with showering tasks as much as possible to promote independence. It may possibly be as simple as offering a washcloth or even the shampoo bottle for the older adult to hold on to.
- If hair washing is challenging for either of you, forego that activity during bath time, and coordinate regular visits to the salon.
- Schedule a special excursion together with the senior, such as a lunch date with a good friend, and center bath time around getting ready for the event.
- Bring in the support of a physician, who can advise the senior in regards to the additional chance of infection or skin problems without proper hygiene. Oftentimes hearing from a trusted third party holds more weight versus from a member of the family.
- Engage the services of a caregiver, allowing your senior loved one the dignity of getting personal care needs tended to by a professional caregiver, as opposed to a member of family.
At Midnight Sun Home Care, the top providers of dementia care Anchorage and the surrounding area have to offer, each of our caregivers is proficient in safe hygiene procedures for senior loved ones, with specialized training to aid those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease to feel safe with personal hygiene tasks, including creative approaches to safe bathing, skin, hair, and oral care, restroom assistance, and more. Give us a call at (907) 677-7890 to discover more personal hygiene tips and effective solutions to the concerns you and your loved one are facing!